• Australian Grand Prix - FP3

Grosjean fastest before rain hits final practice

ESPN Staff
March 16, 2013
Romain Grosjean set his time in the dry before the rain fell © Sutton Images

A downpour during the final practice session for the Australian Grand Prix limited dry weather running but gave teams the opportunity to sample the wet and intermediate tyres ahead of what is expected to be a wet qualifying session.

The drivers had roughly 10 minutes in the dry, in which time Romain Grosjean set the fastest lap with a 1:26.929 ahead of the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. But the final standings were fairly meaningless, with the wet track spoiling any chance to gain a further understanding of the slick tyres ahead of Sunday's race and several drivers, including Lewis Hamilton, failing to set a time in the dry.

Once the rain had passed the cars returned to the track on full wet tyres, drying the surface quickly before intermediate tyres were bolted on in the final 10 minutes of the session. Soon after switching to intermediates, Friday's pace setter Sebastian Vettel pulled up at turn four with a hydraulic issue that Red Bull will have to investigate in the two hours before qualifying. He was the only driver to stop on track, despite a few dicey moments on the slippery surface.

Although the wet session gave the drivers a better understanding of how the cars handle in changing conditions, there will still be some big question marks surrounding the slicks ahead of Sunday's race. Teams that struggled for set-up on Friday, such as McLaren, could end up going into Sunday's race not knowing how their cars will fare over longer runs. The only upside is that a wet qualifying session could act as a leveller for deciding the grid, although that the track may well be dry if the rain holds off in between sessions.